Lola Heritage

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Following the end of Lola’s first involvement with F1 when Bowmaker (the team sponsor) withdrew from racing at the end of the 1962 season Eric Broadley was looking for another project and, perhaps not surprisingly, he returned to his and Lola’s roots with a new sportscar design. Considering the previous design, the Mk1, was a front engined 1100cc/83 bhp, spaceframe design the new Mk6 was a major step-forward.
Debuting at the 1963 Olympia Racing Car Show the Mk6GT was built to comply with the FIA Grand Touring Prototypes regulations and was presented in road car guise. It comprises a centre section monocoque made up of two large box members housing the fuel tanks and creating the sills for the doors, at the front and rear are two tubular steel sub-frames. The inner face of each side-member is made from sheet steel whilst the outer face is duralumin with four internal magnesium formers with attachment bolts for the roof structure and the doors. The boxes are sealed with rubber compound as no fuel cells are used and each side holds 15 imperial gallons, butterfly valves are fitted to prevent fuel surge and twin Bendix fuel pumps are located on the bulkhead behind the driver suppling the fuel to the engine.

The side members are separated by a steel floor pan with small boxed bracing sections for the attachment of the driver’s seat and the central gear-change. Behind the driver is a triangular section cross-member of folded sheet with an internal pipe connecting the two fuel tanks and containing the roll-hoop. The rear of each of the side members have a fabricated extension pointing slightly inwards with a pyramid box at the end which allow for the attachment of the coil-springs and dampers to the top. There is a ladder-shaped strut between the two pyramids which can be removed for engine installation/removal and from the rear of each a tetrahedral tubular frame cantilevers backwards to a curved cross-member which extend sideways for the attachment of body supporting pivots.

The rear suspension features symmetric “A” shaped wishbones at the bottom of the cast magnesium uprights with transverse links and very long forward-facing radius rods that fix to the triangular cross-member at the top and outboard brakes.
The front of the car has a, mainly square section, frame attaching to the scuttle and supplies the mountings for the front suspension, radiator and spare wheel. The suspension consists of unequal length wishbones with a screw adjustment for altering the camber settings and the caster is set at 30° to reduce front-end dive under heavy braking. A Saab rack and pinion steering rack is mounted ahead of the centre line.

The cockpit roof has a steel spider-shaped member for roll-over protection and the front and rear GRP (glass reinforced plastic) bodywork, made by Specialised Mouldings, is hinged and can be removed completely for accessibility.
The engine is a Shelby-tuned Ford 4,262cc V8 with four twin-choke Webers producing 260 bhp. at 6,200 rpm and the power is transmitted via a Colotti Type 37 four-speed gearbox connected to the cockpit by a three-cable system and 3rd and 4th gears can be changed with the gearbox in situ. The driveshafts are tubular with the inner ends attached to the gearbox via Metalastik Rotoflex rubber couplings with Hooke joints on the outer end. Wheels are cast magnesium, the front taking 6.00 X 15in tyres and 7.00 X 15 at the rear.
The first race for the Mk6 was at the 11th May 1963 Silverstone International Trophy meeting in a 12-lap race for unlimited sportscars. Although John Surtees practised the untested car the Ferrari management withdrew permission for Surtees to race the car and South African Tony Maggs was drafted in at the last minute. Never having even sat in the car before and starting from the back of the grid and only using an engine fitted with a single downdraught carburettor Maggs did well to bring the car home 9th in the race.

One week later the car was at the Nürburgring for the World Championship 1000 Kms where Maggs shared driving duties with Bob Olthoff, a fellow South African. The pair qualified 9th (out of 67) with a time of 10:00.100 but had to stop at the end of the opening lap with loose rear wheel nuts before an early retirement with a broken distributor.
The Le Mans 24 Hours was next up and a new car was built, it was hoped a second car would be entered by the John Mecom team but time constraints meant it could not be completed in time. The works car missed the Wednesday scrutineering but the ACO permitted the car to be checked on Thursday and, after moving the engine air ducts from the roof to behind the doors to improve driver visibility, the car passed. For this race Richard Attwood and David Hobbs were drafted in and, now fitted with a 4727cc Cobra engine, they qualified the car 22nd (4:13.100). Atwood stared the race and was running just outside the top 12 in the first hour when the car had to pit to have a slipping dynamo belt fixed. Later a two hour pit stop to repair gearbox problems dropped the car back and Hobbs then crashed at the Chicane when the recalcitrant gearbox refused to change down to third.
The final race of the year for the Mk6 was the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch on the 6th August. The new Ford-powered chassis was entered by the Mecom Racing Team in the over three-litre category and driven by Augie Pabst but the car was very much a last-minute effort, it missed practice altogether and retired after just four of the fifty lap race when the oil pressure vanished.
Behind the scenes the Ford Motor Company had taken an interest in the Mk6 as they were planning on a Le Mans assault followitg the company's failure to buy Ferrari! They approached Eric Broadley with a view to taking over the project with the two Ford-powered cars acting as mobile test-beds for components for what would become the legendary Ford GT40 so this was the end of the racing careers of these cars although they saw plenty of testing mileage, frequently with Bruce McLaren at the wheel. Eric Broadley would work on the design of the new “Ford GT” with John Wyer and Ford Engineer Roy Lunn.
Meanwhile there was still the 4.6-litre Chevrolet-powered car that was supplied to John Mecom (something Ford were not delighted about) and it made its debut at the Bahamas Speed Week where on the 1st December, at the Oakes Field Circuit, Augie Pabst won the Nassau TT race (and the Preliminary race). Its next race was the Sebring 12 Hours on the 21st March 1964, driven by Augie Pabst and Walt Hangsen, it failed to set a time in practice and engine problems forced it to retire after six hours when the engine seized.

This was effectively the end of the Mk6 in major races, it only completed in a handful of shorter races and its final British outing was on the 3rd August at the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch where Pabst took 11th. The car then went back to the Lola factory where it was fitted with wider wheels, larger brakes with improved cooling and improved ventilation for the driver. The last appearance for the car was at the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside on the 11th October 1964 when a stuck throttle in practice caused Pabst to crash and miss the race.

The Mk6 may not have much to show in the way of results but, as the progenitor of two of the most charismatic sportscars; the Ford GT40 and Lola’s next sportscar the T70, it more than earned its place in motorsport history.

Lola Mk 6 Specifications

ENGINE (Ford V8)
No. of cylinders 8 in 90° vee formation
Bore 96.5 mm (3.80 in.)
Stroke 72.9 mm (2.87 in.)
Displacement 4.262 cc (260 cu. in.)
Valve gearOverhead, pushrods and rockers
Compression ratio 9.2 to 1
Max BHP (net) 260 @: 6,500 r.p.m.
Max torque 269 @ 3,600 r.p.m.
Max b.m.e.p.
(brake mean effctive pressure)
156 p.s.i.
Carburettors 1 four-barrel Holley or 4 dual-choke Webers
Fuel pump 2 Bendix electrical
Tank capacity 30 gallons
Gearbox 4 speed, central change, no synchromesh
Overall ratios Top 3/68 - 3rd 4/24 - 2nd 5/58 - 1st 8/18 - (alternative Top 3/49)
Final drive Straight cut bevel, 3.27 to 1 (alternative 3.09 to 1)
Brakes Girling discs, front & rear
Dimensions 11 in, dia, front & rear
Suspension (front) Independent, wishbones and coil springs. Armstrong adjustable telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
Suspension (rear)Independent, wishbones and coil springs. Armstrong adjustable telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
Wheels Cast magnesium, center-lock, 6.5 in. wide rims front, 8.0 in. rear.
Tyres Dunlop R6, 5.50- or 6.00- 15 in. front, 6.50- or 7.00- 15 in. rear.
Steering Rack & pinion
Wheelbase 7 ft. 8 in.
Track (front & rear) 4 ft. 4 in.
Overall length 12 ft. 10 in.
Overall width 5 ft. 3 in.
Overall height3 ft. 4 in.
Ground clearance 5 in.
Kerb weight (approx) 1,800 lb. 16.1 c.w.t. (817 kg)
Number built 3 (Prototype - LGT-1 - LGT-2)